Cardinals release WR DeAndre Hopkins after three seasons
Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks, was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, the team announced.
Hopkins, who turns 31 in June, is now a free agent after a tumultuous three-year run with the Cardinals when injuries and a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs forced him to miss 15 games in the last two seasons.
Hopkins is a five-time Pro Bowler whose 2020 trade from the Houston Texans amounted to just one playoff appearance for the Cardinals, a loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, in the 2021 season.
With Cardinals starting quarterback Kyler Murray expected to miss much of the 2023 season recovering from knee surgery, and the Cardinals unable to find a suitable trade partner and/or package for Hopkins, Arizona decided to head in another direction in new coach Jonathan Gannon’s first season.
Hopkins, a three-time All-Pro receiver, said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast Monday he would love to team up with quarterbacks like Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) and Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers).
Hopkins also said on the podcast he wanted to play for a team with three things: stable management, a quarterback who loves the game, and a great defense because “defense wins championships.”
Hopkins can now negotiate with a new team, likely to be a contender.
Hopkins was under contract in Arizona for two more seasons with base salaries of $19.45 million in 2023 and $14.915 million in 2024, according to overthecap.com. He was set to carry a $30 million cap hit.
As a pre-June 1 cut, the Cardinals will clear only $7.4 million in salary cap space and eat $22.6 million in dead money in 2023, according to NFL Network. He will be off the books in 2024, according to NFL Network.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: DeAndre Hopkins released by Cardinals after three-year tenure